All six ANC commissioners: Christine Healey (6C01), Karen Wirt (6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenweiler (6C04), Joel Kelty (6C05) and Drew Courney (6C06) were in attendance.
At the Oct. 14th meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (6C), commissioners discussed games of skill, an elementary school grant proposal and various construction projects in ANC 6C.
At the September meeting, commissioners discussed applications for Games of Skill at Bar Elena and Felicity Bar and Lounge which would require a substantial change to their Class C liquor licenses.Commissioner Courtney and Chair of the Alcohol and Beverage Licensing (ABL) Committee Steve O’Neal worked over the past month to draft a settlement letter to put “control and community involvement” into their endorsement citing concerns about the effect of these games on the Northeast community.
O’Neal emphasized the importance for a concrete rationale from the commissioners.
“If we truly want to protest (this implementation), we need to have a very concrete reason why we believe that they should not be in our area,” O’Neal said.
Commissioner Drew Courtney 6C06 spoke on the issue emphasizing the importance of the agreement and simultaneous operation of a sports book.
“At a bare minimum, we [need] to have language that incorporates for procedural reasons about how to amend a settlement agreement,” Courtney said. “If folks are going to say, I want a game of skill, it seems that a bare minimum of what we should expect in the settlement agreement is saying you will not operate a sports book.”
Kelty also expressed concern about allowing local establishments to implement these games of skill citing Illinois statistics of when similar games of skill were implemented and lottery sales decreased by more than eight percent.
“Ultimately, if we allow, or if we support games of skill coming to our portion of Eighth Street, I think we’re going to have a reduction in the diversity of retail uses on the street,” Kelty said. “Everything is going to essentially become
bars and nightclubs with gambling operations in them, or recreational marijuana, which is another issue.”
The ANC did not vote and agreed to resume discussions about this in the November meeting.
MoveDC Plan, Washington Gas and Visitor Parking Passes
Christy Kwan, chair of the Transportation and Public Space (TSP) Committee, spoke about the city’s novel proposed transportation plan for 2021, Move DC, and updates about the Washington Gas construction on Maryland Ave. NE.
Kwan said the construction is currently taking place on the 1100, 1200, 800 and 1000 blocks of Maryland Avenue NE and acknowledged the longevity of the construction work.
“The (city acknowledges) that there is construction fatigue in the area because this has been ongoing for quite some time,” Kwan said. “If there are any questions or concerns about the construction, residents should feel free to contact the team with their questions or concerns.”
The Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee also reviewed a proposed rule making of visitor parking passes this month which would eliminate the requirement that District Department of Transportation (DDOT) provide annual visitor parking passes in a physical or online format. Additionally, it would transfer responsibility for the issuance of temporary visitor parking passes from the Metropolitan Police Department to DDOT. Kwan emphasized some of the challenges with the new proposal including determining and enforcing the parking boundaries set by the city.
The proposal also included new updates about visitor parking passes that would include a fee, not exceeding five dollars per day citing homecare aides and other long term visitors as the rationale for keeping costs low. Kwan also said the possibility of distributing passes online in addition to physical permits is being discussed.
NoMa Park Updates
Joe McCann, chair of the Environment, Parks and Events (EPE) Committee, spoke about preliminary park construction updates including a $3.4 million dollar land acquisition at 3rd and L St. NE which will be the final land acquisition by the city from the $50 million in funds allocated back in 2014. McCann said he is focused on keeping track of the development progress of this location and its timeline so that the ANC and the Committee can weigh in at the appropriate points in time.
Courtney spoke about the issue of public restrooms and their benefit to the general community, even those who do not reside in the area. While no decisive action was taken by the commissioners, Courtney said further action and discussion will be forthcoming on this issue.
J.O. Wilson Grant
Victoria Lord, chair of the Grants Committee discussed a grant application that was approved for J.O. Wilson in the amount of $11,979.60. J.O. Wilson is a pre-K through 5th grade, Title One school. With the grant funds, the school is planning to purchase targeted math intervention equipment. Lord discussed the significant impact that the funding could have on the school and the proven effectiveness of the proposed program.
“This program would allow J.O. Wilson to equip its students properly for their futures,” Lord said. “The committee felt very strongly that although it is a large sum of money, it is a very worthwhile program that will pay off in future years.”
Douglas Klein from the US Attorney’s Office spoke to commissioners and attendees about the ongoing protests, their partnership with the DC police department and encouraged community participation.
Scott Price attended the meeting and discussed seniors’ concern about wearing masks in public during the pandemic.
The ANC unanimously voted to pass a proposal for an application to extend the planned unit development (PUD) progress for the residential building at 301 Florida Ave. NE for two years. The PCA committee voted unanimously to recommend support for this request.
ANC 6C usually meets on Wednesdays, but in observence of Veteran’s Day, the ANC will meet next on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. virtually via Webex. Find the link to the meeting, agendas and more information about the commission at www.anc6c.org.
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected].